How to Protect Your Back From Injury

Monday, September 3, 2012

Have you ever hurt your back before, or do you know someone that has?  Back injuries are quite common and if you have ever hurt your back, then you know the severity of this type of injury.  It is very important that we protect our backs from injury.  We need strong muscles to protect our spinal column.  These strong muscles generally come from us exercising and building strength in these muscles. 

So, what can we do to help our backs? We need to exercise building a solid core and foundation and we need to build strength in our back muscles.

Tips for protecting your back while sitting:

  • Maintain proper posture – making sure that you sit up straight and sit on your seat bones
  • At work, perhaps have an ergonomic assessment done to ensure your work station fits you (not the you to the work station).
  • Make sure that you get up and move positions from sitting.  Even quick five minute breaks can give your muscles the recovery they might need from sitting all the time.

Tips for protecting your back while lying down:

  • Choose the proper mattress for you – make sure that the spine, head and neck are supported (avoid really soft mattresses as they often don’t have enough support).
  • A lot of strain can be produced on your back and neck by lying or sleeping on your front.  Try to maintain a supported posture when sleeping (such as on your back or on your side).  You can put a pillow between your legs to maintain a correct alignment of your spine.
  • Never suddenly leap up from a resting position. Take it slowly so your back can stretch and regain its flexibility gradually.

Tips for protecting your back while lifting and carrying:

  • Make sure that if you have to lift something, that you lift from your legs (like a squat position), this will save your much smaller and weaker back muscles from doing this.
  • Try to make sure that you adjust positions if you are carrying something for a long period of time (a child for example).

Tips for Maintenance:

  • Yoga or Pilates are great exercises for strengthening muscles in and around the spinal column as well as core strength.  The more core strength you have, the better it will be on your back muscles as the core can take the majority of the work load.
  • Massage or medical therapy might help if you need an assessment on how your back is doing and what you can do to make it better.